Soil preparation: Artichokes need rich soil to thrive. Each spring, mix compost such as Lady Bug Natural Brand Revitalizer, Farm Style, or Turkey Compost into your artichoke bed. You may also want to mix in Lady Bug 8-2-4 a granulated organic fertilizer with a balanced Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium (NPK) level.

Planting: In mild climates, artichokes are grown as perennials, and they produce buds in the second growing season. To get artichoke buds the first year, gardeners in cooler climates must start with seeds and grow artichokes as annuals. The key is to trick the artichoke into behaving as if it has already made it through its first winter by exposing the young plants to a period of cool temperatures. That subterfuge is called vernalization The Green Globe variety is generally perennial, but does not like extreme cold or heat. It can go dormant in the summer. Water through the growing season. If plants are sufficiently watered and composted they will produce fruit in the following fall. Mulching is important to keep moisture in and protect from extreme heat and cold. When plants reach 8′, they will developed suckers at the bottom of the base, cut all but 5 or 6 and use the cuttings to make a new row. This may be done in May for continuous harvest for up to 6 months. It is advisable to partially renew plantings every year and also not allow any plantings to exceed 4 years.

Spacing: Plant two feet apart.

Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist throughout the season.

Fertilizing: Fertilize monthly with Lady Bug Natural Brand John’s Recipe.

Special hints: You can keep your artichokes from one season to the next. In USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 7 and warmer, protect the plants with a thick mulch of straw. In colder regions, try this smart idea: Dig the roots in fall, shake off the dirt, and hang them in onion bags in a cool, dry place such as a root cellar. In spring, these more-mature root systems kick in right away when replanted in the garden.

Pest Watch: Keep an eye out for aphids, caterpillars, slugs and snails.

Harvesting Hints: you can harvest your artichokes any time after the flower buds form until they start to open. Artichoke flavor is not dependent on maturity the way it is with a tomato. Slice the buds off at the base using a sharp knife.

Trivia Tidbits: Sure, it bears resemblance to a hand grenade, but the artichoke is actually quite loaded with nutritional ammunition: It’s a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and copper, with a healthful dose of vitamin B6, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, too. Pass the butter.

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